We investigated the mechanism of peripheral insulin resistance in the adipose tissue of obese and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) patients at the level of the glucose-transport effector system. Freshly isolated adipocytes from obese nondiabetic and obese NIDDM subjects had decreased insulin sensitivity and responsiveness for glucose-transport stimulation compared with control subjects, with more pronounced changes associated with obese NIDDM patients. The relative abundance of muscle/fat glucose-transporter isoform in the three groups of subjects was determined by Western-blot analysis of detergent-soluble adipose tissue extracts with monoclonal antibody 1F8. Obesity per se had no effect on adipose tissue muscle/fat glucose-transporter isoform (3150 ± 660 vs. 4495 ± 410 counts/min [cpm]/mg protein). Furthermore, decreased levels of muscle/fat isoform was observed in adipose tissue of NIDDM patients (1560 ± 600 cmp/mg protein.) Furthermore, decreased levels of muscle/fat isoform in adipose tissue of NIDDM patients were also reflected in isolated adipocytes. Our results demonstrate that insulin resistance in isolated adipocytes of NIDDM patients could at least partly be due to a significant depletion of adipose tissue muscle/fat glucose-transporter isoform.

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